Cavs beat Atlanta on LeBron’s FT
He sank 1-of-2 charity tosses with 1.6 seconds remaining, then defended the Hawks’ last-gasp shot at the buzzer.
ATLANTA (AP) — LeBron James scored 26 points, including the winning free throw with 1.6 seconds left, and the Cleveland Cavaliers won for the seventh time in eight games, 88-87 over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night.
The Hawks, after rallying from a 13-point deficit, squandered a five-point lead in the final 1:42. Delonte West hit a jumper, Mo Williams sank a 3-pointer and James won it for the Cavaliers on their final possession. He drove from the top of the key and was fouled by Al Horford with 1.6 seconds remaining.
James missed the first free throw but swished the second. The Hawks had a last chance, but Joe Johnson’s jumper over James clanked off the rim as the horn sounded.
Johnson led the Hawks with 21 points.
The teams met on a day that should have made Cleveland feel right at home — a freak March storm left downtown Atlanta with a light blanket of snow.
As always, the celebrities turned out for King James. Bill Murray, in Georgia filming a movie, sat courtside along with director Spike Lee, who was trying to sell Murray on another project while they both took in the game.
Triple-teamed at times, James made 8-of-20 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, and dished out 11 assists.
The Cavaliers led 62-49 about five minutes into the third, but the Hawks closed the quarter on a 21-7 run. Johnson, Zaza Pachulia and Flip Murray scored five points to lead the spurt.
On its final possession of the quarter, Murray gave the home team its first lead since 2-0. Isolated with Daniel Gibson, the Hawks guard drove into the lane and hit the jumper while drawing a foul. Even though he missed the free throw, failing to complete the three-point play, the Hawks went to the final period up 68-67.
James’ best move came in the first half. He stepped back on Johnson, then suddenly blew by him to the right and made the shot despite being fouled by Josh Smith.
Smith dazzled the crowd, too. He blocked Mo Williams shot at one end, took off down the court and dunked off a miss by Joe Johnson.
Williams had 20 points for the Cleveland, while Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Hawks had five players in double figures, including Murray and Marvin Williams with 14 apiece.
Atlanta looked to be in good shape when Joe Johnson missed a dunk, but the ball went straight to Williams in the corner. He stepped behind the line and sank the 3 to make it 87-82. But the Hawks missed their final three shots.
The Cavaliers improved to 2-1 in the season series with the Hawks, becoming the first to win on the road. The teams meet for the final time in the regular season at Cleveland on March 21.
Both teams struggled at the foul line. The Hawks made 22-of-31 (71 percent), while the Cavaliers were 16-of-24 (67 percent).
The crowd of 19,639 was the largest of the season at Philips Arena.